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'Quick Help' Page: Church Started Locking Doors

 

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Locked Doors

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Arrow Question / Issue:

"Why has our Catholic church started to lock its doors? It used to be that the door was always open and now during the day, you find them locked."

 

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It is quite unfortunate that churches ever need to be locked – ideally a church should be open 24/7/365. However, concerns over vandalism & theft may have caused the situation you are describing. You may recall that previous generations could "safely" leave their home's windows and doors open at night, but not any more. It is a sad fact that vandalism & theft at Catholic churches does occur. I recall some cases of theft of relics, theft & destruction of statues, and graffiti in our news pages (for detail, try here). Parishes today may feel it is necessary to take this step in order to prevent such occurrences. However, I would think you should be able to gain access to the parish at least during 'business hours'. I would suggest contacting the office regarding this matter.

In case it helps, I've seen one parish with a perpetual adoration chapel install a combination lock on the door so that authorized persons could come and go at any time but the door was still locked against those who should not be able to enter – e.g. vandals who would not have the (presumably) frequently changed combination. This arrangement meets the needs of the faithful to enter the parish while also protecting the church. If you think that might be a workable idea in your parish, you might want to contact them to see if it could be arranged.

You might also be interested in the following quotes...

"Above all, do not allow – as some do, who are deceived under the pretext of restoring the liturgy or who idly claim that only liturgical rites are of any real value and dignity – that churches be closed during the hours not appointed for public functions, as has already happened in some places: where the adoration of the august Sacrament and visits to our Lord in the tabernacles are neglected; where confession of devotion is discouraged; and devotion to the Virgin Mother of God, a sign of 'predestination' according to the opinion of holy men, is so neglected, especially among the young, as to fade away and gradually vanish. Such conduct most harmful to Christian piety is like poisonous fruit, growing on the infected branches of a healthy tree, which must be cut off so that the life-giving sap of the tree may bring forth only the best fruit." (Pope Pius XII, "Mediator Dei", 1947 A.D.)

"Can. 1221 Entry to a church at the hours of sacred functions is to be open and free of charge." (1983 Code of Canon Law)


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